Avasant Foundation Trains Guyanese Youth on Critical Digital Skills
Los Angeles, July 13, 2021
On June 30, 2021, the Avasant Foundation, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank LAB (IDB LAB), graduated 60 students from its Digital Skills Training Program in Guyana. The training program included literacy and numeracy modules in which students’ knowledge gaps were bridged in the language and mathematics skills needed to understand the digital ecosystem. The social component of the training provided students with skills for communication, sales and marketing, customer service, and leaderships critical to prosper in any industry. The technical component of the training built skills in high demand in the global economy across all sectors and the Guyanese labor market, including training in the Microsoft Office 365 suite, UX design, web design and development, mobile applications, master data management, project management, and entrepreneurship. The program, designed by the Avasant Foundation, seeks to award 200 fully funded scholarships to young Guyanese students to support the evolution of the workforce required for Guyana’s economic and social transformation. The foundation has graduated 120 youths from disadvantaged backgrounds since the training began in August 2020. The classes were structured with 30 students in each cohort, with 60 students graduating in January 2021 and another 60 in June 2021. “The digital age has unlocked a new era for creativity and innovation,” Avasant Foundation Chairman and Avasant CEO Kevin Parikh said to the graduates. “This is ushering in the next stage of human evolution, in which the mind is unburdened to solve the grand challenges. Each person, regardless of educational background, occupation, age, or location is afforded equal opportunity to compete in the digital age.” In 2021, Guyana remains one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Due to its poverty level, Guyana's emigration rate is among the highest in the world — over 55 % of its citizens reside abroad. More than 80 % of Guyanese nationals with tertiary-level educations have emigrated, depriving the economy of skilled workers. Guyana is at a landmark point in its growth, due to potential opportunities to develop its fuels and energy sector. Guyana’s economy is becoming increasingly attractive for investments as developments occur in new and emerging sectors. The country seeks to develop human talent equipped with up-to-date, soft and technical skills of high impact across all industries. During the graduation ceremony, IDB Lab representative Vashtie Dookiesingh said “Nowadays, regardless of the industry you work in, what matters is your ability to understand the potential of digital technologies and how to apply those technologies to your work.” Dookiesingh also encouraged the graduates to contribute individually and collectively to build Guyana. Executive Director of the Avasant Foundation Chitra Rajeshwari added, “We live in a world today of borderless workforces. The world is shrinking. We really do not have to physically be in a location to be able to do our jobs. It is important that we all learn how to embrace digital technology because it is here to stay, and it is the future.” The training program was designed initially to be delivered in person. However, due to COVID-19 social gathering restrictions, the program was adapted to be 100% virtual. Using the Avasant Learning Portal, a Google classroom, the facilitators were able to share content, and create learning activities, team building exercises, and assessments. Besides being the main tool to track students’ learning progress and manage academic performance, the platform gave exposure to the digital environment the Avasant Foundation wanted to immerse the students in. The program was executed in partnership with the University of Guyana, which provided access to virtual meeting platform and lecturers. About the Foundation Founded in 2012, the Avasant Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for the over 70 million unemployed youth in the world by giving them the skills to succeed in the workforce of today and tomorrow. The foundation has helped create 25,000 sustainable jobs in India, Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. The foundation leverages best practices and knowledge from its parent organization, Avasant, to accomplish the following:
- Education – Online and blended training leveraging the Avasant Learning Portal to provide innovative learning experiences designed to meaningfully engage candidates in the delivery of digital skills that meet market demands.
- Employment – Job opportunities through the delivery of digital and transversal skills training.
- Entrepreneurship – Avasant Foundation-branded iGNITE entrepreneurial digital skills training to help young men and women use their creativity to start and run sustainable businesses.